All the planets of the solar system can be seen together in the night sky right now, providing stargazers with a “spectacular” show until the end of the year.
Over the next few days, it is possible to see Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn simultaneously with the naked eye, while Uranus and Neptune can be seen with binoculars or a telescope.
“On these nights we can see all the planets of our solar system at a glance, shortly after sunset,” said Gianluca Massi, astronomer with the Virtual Telescope Project. Newsweek. “It happens from time to time, but it’s always an amazing sight.”
After December 24, the Moon will also join the show, which can be seen from anywhere on Earth, assuming the sky is clear.
Starting on the southwestern horizon, the planets to the naked eye will line up in the following order: Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. The hardest planet to see will be Mercury, located in a bright part of the sky. While the planet may be visible to the naked eye, binoculars may help determine its location, as well as Venus.
You’ll also need binoculars to find Uranus, which is between Mars and Jupiter, and Neptune – which is between Saturn and Jupiter.
“This way, we can see the entire family of planets,” Massey said.
This “planetary parade” isn’t a regular occurrence, but it’s not as rare as you might expect—this alignment happens every one to two years or so, on average.
It was the last time all the planets were seen in the sky at once June this year. During this show, the Five naked-eye planets are also lined up in the sky in the same sequential order in which they physically orbit the sun.—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Such an alignment has not happened for 18 years.
Uranus and Neptune were also visible with binoculars during this event, but they were not aligned in increasing order of distance from the Sun.
The last planetary show is set to run until the end of the year, when Mercury will wane, so you only have a few days to catch a glimpse of it.
If you’d rather watch the action from the comfort of your own home, it’s the Virtual Telescope Project Provide live broadcast Planets and the moon appear above the skyline of Rome.
The Virtual Telescope Project is a service provided by the Bellatrix Astronomical Observatory in Secano, Italy, and operated by Massey, which operates and provides access to remotely operated robotic telescopes.
The Christmas Live broadcast is scheduled to begin at 4pm UTC, or 11am ET, on December 28th.
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